The prime minister had called an emergency meeting of the cabinet for the second time during the day.
The cabinet’s approval was sought for giving an extension to army chief General Bajwa after the Supreme Court had earlier suspended a notification over the same matter.
An amendment in the Defence Act was approved by the cabinet. Sources claimed that the new summary was sent to President Alvi for approval.
Sources further said that the word ‘extension’ was added in the Defence Act.
The development comes a few hours after the Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended the notification granting General Bajwa an extension of three years as army chief.
Chief Justice Khosa rejected the application today (Tuesday) and took up a petition challenging the notification issued by the prime minister in public interest under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, turning the petition into a suo motu notice.
“The prime minister does not have the power to extend the tenure of the army chief,” the chief justice remarked.
To this, the attorney general told the court, “Army chief’s tenure was extended after the president’s approval.”
“If the president approved the summary on August 19, then why did the prime minister gave the approval for the summary again on August 21,” CJP Khosa questioned.
“The prime minister signed the summary after the approval from the cabinet,” the attorney general responded.
“Did the president give approval again after the approval from the prime minister and cabinet?” CJP Khosa enquired.
“The initial approval is supposed to be given by the president,” he further said, adding that “the approval given by the president before the cabinet might not be according to the law.”
We can take the approval from the president again, the attorney general suggested.
“Only 11 members of the cabinet gave approval of the summary for the extension of army chief’s tenure. We cannot say the majority gave the approval,” the chief remarked.
“In a democracy, the decisions are made through the opinion of the majority. Those members who did not give an answer, we should wait for their answer. These members did not say ‘no’ either. Did the government assume that the answer of those who did not give an answer translates into ‘yes’?” the chief justice asked.
“The prime minister was told he did not have the power. Then it was found out that both the prime minister and the president did not have the power and the final decision rests with the cabinet and on August 21, the matter was sent to the cabinet,” CJP Khosa said.